Building a base for Water Polo in the Central West – U14 Girls State Champs Feature
Building participation for Water Polo in rural areas is a key component for WPNSW; this was evident with the Macquarie Sports Clinic hosted in Dubbo at the U14 Girls State Championships. The event saw 11 teams and over 200 athletes travel to the Central West Region over the five days with Sydney University Lions taking out the gold medal.
WPNSW hosted three of its State Championships in the Central West Region in 2017 with the U16 Boys in Bathurst a week earlier and the U14 Boys in Orange running simultaneously to the U14 Girls. For the Central West Region, these events spark a positive on the local communities; especially for Dubbo according to Mayor Ben Shields.
“Dubbo is starting to be known as a regional event centre. It’s not just the water sports but with everything else,” he said.
“We’ve got the facilities now here in Dubbo. We are really starting to get a reputation for a conference and events centre and we’re set up for it. We certainly welcome these sorts of things here especially the young kids who are coming here as well and experiencing a regional city like this.”
Dubbo Leisure Aquatic Centre hosted over 40 hours of pool time over the five days. Plenty of shade was catered for the enduring heat with temperatures over 30 degrees daily. Support from the local Dubbo Water Polo community was notable at the event, with a morning BBQ every day.
The second day of competition hosted the Macquarie Sports Clinics for a second year running for WPNSW. The free participation clinics provided water and land based activities as well as modified games to create exposure for the sport in these regional areas. Heading into their 20th year of running these Macquarie Sport Clinics, Chris McKenzie from Macquarie Sports emphasized the importance of delivering the program in these areas.
“Macquarie Sports is all about providing sporting opportunities for kids in remote regional areas, so we’re really pleased to partner up with Water Polo NSW to bring these clinks to regional NSW,” he said.
“Last year  was the first year we did it and was a huge success. We’ve continued with it this year  and as you can see the kids are loving it.”
A major influence on providing the clinic in Dubbo was Dubbo Water Polo Club President Sam McGregor; a local Olympian who competed in three Olympic Games and looks to improve the exposure of the sport.
“Yeah it was awesome [Macquarie Sports Clinic]. We had 100 kids turn up, half of them were from the Dubbo area and only half of that number were members from our club so it’s great exposure for the sport and for people who are already involved,” he said.
“Before we started I asked everyone to put their hand up on who hadn’t played before and there were about 20 kids, so it was a great opportunity to come along and learn about the sport.”
Kids were also coached by current Olympian of the Australian Men’s team & Vice-captain, Richie Campbell, who sees the benefit of these clinics coming from a regional area (Newcastle) himself.
“It is very important in regional areas [Macquarie sports clinics]; when I grew up we didn’t have a lot of it, so it is very good to see Water Polo NSW doing their work and broadening it out to these regional areas. “
Throughout the tournament, the best 35 athletes were selected for State Team selection camps for this year’s State tournament. Canberra Dolphins were too strong in their Division B campaign, taking out the title against UNSW Wests Killer Whales Black in the final 3-1.
Sydney Uni Lions prevailed in a tough penalty shootout in the semi-final with levelling the scoring with only two seconds to play against UNSW Wests Killer Whales Yellow. In a thrilling final, Lions held a resilient comeback from SNB Breakers in the final quarter to take out the U14 Girls State Championships with a 6-4 victory and ended the tournament undefeated. UNSW Wests Yellow finished off the medals with a bronze after a dominant performance over Hunter Hurricanes 9-1.
The WPNSW State Championships are the stepping stones in the development of elite athletes. The experiences players take away from these championships is valuable, according to Richie Campbell.
“These championships helped me to gain the experience of playing with other kids. Playing against kids all over the state and then gaining that experience to then rise up and get selected into State teams and then build the process from there,” he said.
“It is very important for kids to have fun first and then gain the experience to learn the game of Water Polo.”
Written by Vangeli Kollias (Communications Coordinator)
Tournament 7 and Awards
MVP of Final Series
Millie Quin - Sydney Uni
Frankie Nicklin UNSW Wests
Sienna Green - Sydney Uni
Andie Kearns - SNB Breakers
Samantha Hardingham - Sydney Uni
Jessica Norgard - Hunter Hurricanes
Bernie Hughes - UNSW Wests
Madissyn Powells - Ryde
(GK) Beth Martini - Hunter Hurricanes
“Think. Act. Play” team award
Referee encouragement award
Joe Mitchell & Byron O’Halloran
1st - Sydney Uni Lions Blue [Gold Medal]
2nd - SNB Breakers Blue [Silver Medal]
3rd - UNSW Wests Killer Whales Yellow [Bronze Medal]
4th - Hunter Hurricanes
5th - ACU Cronulla Sharks Blue
6th - UTS Balmain Tigers
7th - SNB Breakers White
8th - Tamworth
9th - Canberra Dolphins [Division B Cup Winners]
10th - UNSW Wests Killer Whales Black
11th - Ryde Rhinos
12th - Sydney Uni Lions Gold
13th - ACU Cronulla Sharks Black